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Joint CBI-Bengal Police SIT to probe into attack on ED officials: Cal HC

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Kolkata, Jan 17: The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday ordered formation of a joint special investigation team of CBI and West Bengal police to probe an attack on Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials at Sandeshkhali when they went to search the premises of Trinamool Congress leader Shajahan Sheikh on January 5.
Justice Jay Sengupta directed that the probe will be monitored by the court and the SIT will file a progress report of the investigation on February 12, the next date of hearing in the case.
The agency’s counsel had prayed for transfer of the investigation into the attack to the CBI, claiming that the central agency does not have faith in a probe being done by the West Bengal police.
One SP rank officer of CBI, the name of whom the agency was directed to give to the court by Thursday, and Jaspreet Singh, SP of Islampur police district will jointly head the SIT, Justice Sengupta said.
ED officials went to search the premises of Shajahan, including his residence and office, at Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district in connection with their probe into the money trail in a ration distribution scam case in West Bengal, when the central agency’s officials and accompanying CRPF personnel were attacked by a mob.
According to a suo motu FIR lodged by Nazat police station, within the area of which the premises of Shajahan is situated and the attack on the ED officials took place, around 3,000 people had gathered when the central agency went for the search operation.
It stated that the local police managed to get the ED officials and the accompanying CRPF personnel safe passage from the area after they were attacked.
Justice Sengupta directed that the two officers will have the liberty to take assistance from central forces or the state police for apprehending the accused persons. He directed that the two SPs of the CBI and the state police induct an equal number of officers from their respective services to conduct the investigation. The court directed that no officer of Nazat police station will be a part of the investigation.
Justice Sengupta said that the ED’s prayer for a single agency, the CBI, to probe the attack was not being allowed at this stage and could be considered later based on how the investigation progresses.
The ED has stated that three of its officers were injured and their belongings were “looted” in an attack on them at Sandeshkhali. The ED told the court that its officials could not enter the house of Shajahan as they were attacked by a huge mob. The judge directed that CCTV cameras which have been installed around the house of Sheikh will remain operational till further order by the court.
TMC welcomes HC order
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Wednesday said they were satisfied with Calcutta High Court’s directive to form a joint special investigation team (SIT) comprising the CBI and West Bengal police to investigate the attack on Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials in Sandeshkhali. TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “We welcome the court order. The Calcutta High Court has ordered the formation of a joint team of central agency (CBI) and state police to probe the attack on ED officials at Sandeshkhali. From the very first day, we had a very clear stand that the central agency should take state police into the loop before conducting any investigation or raids.” (PTI)

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